Tag Archives: Danica

Hollow Children

Camp NaNoWriMo is next month and I am very nervous about it. Very. I’m going in nearly blind, and midway through another huge project (revisions on Twixt) which seems like a recipe for disaster but…well, it seemed like a good idea at the time, and now I’m committed. I freaking hate breaking commitments so, despite how unprepared I am, I’m going to suck it up and give it a shot. Who knows, maybe something awesome will come out of it and I can’t possibly end Camp NaNo with less than I started with, right? So, there’s that…

My project in June is going to be Hollow Children.

A few months ago (man, it might actually be a year ago now :-/) my daughter, Danica, and I decided we wanted to write a novel together. We searched through stock photography sites to find an image that sparked both our imaginations and chose on the image you can see to the left. We brainstormed together and came up with a couple characters then borrowed a story concept I’d been working on before and combined them.

I wrote an opening scene and passed it over to Dani to write the next one. She struggled with it. She’s possibly even more of a perfectionist than I am, and writing isn’t usually her “thing”. So we decided instead of sharing the writing duties, I would write the story and she would illustrate it.

And then I got stuck.

History has shown when I get stuck like this it’s because I’m starting the story in the wrong place, or haven’t really gotten into the brains of my characters. I suspect both are issues when it comes to Hollow Children. To make things even worse, our plot is only a nebulous concept still so I have no freaking idea what is going to happen in this book.

Ugh.

And now I’ve committed to writing 50,000 words on it over the month of June.

What was I thinking? LOL

Right now I’ve got the cover image (which I purchased the right to use) as my desktop image on my laptop so I’ll see it all the time. I’m hoping it will spark something in my brain but if all else fails I’ll draw a couple characters out of my fishbowl (or traits to help flesh out the characters Dani and I created earlier) and write random scenes. I can always try to fit them together once it’s time for revisions, right?

That being said, I’m very open to any suggestions anyone might have about how to find the skeleton of a story in a hurry LOL

Help?

T4T: Danica’s Eyes

I decided it was time that I set up a weekly recurring “thing” on this blog again. The problem is I struggle a little bit with consistency at the best of times so I didn’t want to constrain myself too tightly. For example, if I were sharing a photo a week, that would either begin to bore me after a while and I’d let it slip, or during a time when I wasn’t taking a lot of photos I’d have to use old content and that would bore you. That same basic idea applied to pretty much everything I could think of doing so I decided to keep things pretty open to avoid boredom while still forcing myself to post something on the same day every week. In the end I decided on:

Two for Tuesday

Starting today I’ll be posting two somethings each Tuesday. They could be anything. Two words, two pictures, two recipes, two quotes, two poems, two stories, two links — you get the idea.

It should be fun 🙂

I’m going to kick things off with two pictures. These are both images of Danica’s eye. I took the pictures within seconds of one another and then just processed them differently. They are some of of my favourit images (a’la moi) that I’ve done recently. If you like them, I invite you to pop over to my Flickr page to see more of my photographs, and if you use Flickr why not add me as a contact? I’ll be happy to return the favour 🙂

"Over There" photograph by Rhonda Parrish

"Danica's Eye" photograph by Rhonda Parrish

 

Track and Field Day

Warning: This post doesn’t have anything at all to do with writing. I have Danica’s permission to share this story about her.

This is Danica. This isn’t the most flattering photograph I have of her, but she looks angry in it, and that makes it the most appropriate photograph for this post.

Thursday was Dani’s track and field day. This is ungood for a few reasons

– Like her mother, Danica isn’t much into sports. That includes track and field.
– Dani’s birthday is in October, which means she has to compete against kids a grade higher than her
– We, as a family, haven’t really had a very active lifestyle until recently which means we’re all somewhat out of shape.

So, Dani was not looking forward to track and field day, but, like a champ, she sucked it up and was going to make the best of it. Still, she did call me from the track and field day to complain about the weather, and then again in the afternoon to tell me that the event had been canceled on account of snow (gotta love springtime in Edmonton, right?) and would be continued on Friday.

Then she came home and wanted to talk to me. There were tears in her eyes.

She cried as she told me about how the people who were measuring and raking for the triple jump event had made fun of her performance.

*sigh*

I was furious. Mean people suck. And people being mean to my kid, well, they suck even more than most.***

One of the worst parts of the whole situation was that she would have to go back to school the next day (Friday) and compete in two more events.

Could I force her to do that? Turns out the answer is no.

I know we can’t shelter her from everything, but I asked myself, what would she learn from going to the track meet that would make it worth the anxiety she’d feel and the potential for having to deal with insensitive people. In the end I couldn’t see any valuable lesson to be learned other than ‘sometimes you have to do stuff that sucks’. I decided she’d done that when she’d participated in the track meet on Thursday, I couldn’t force her to go back on Friday.

Jo and I discussed it and we agreed. We decided that if Danica asked to stay home on Friday we’d let her. She did, and we did.

My point?

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
~Plato

It’s something I sometimes struggle with** and maybe this was life’s way of reminding me, so I thought I might help spread the word, in case I’m not the only one who could use it.

~*~

On a sideways-related note*, Danica has decided to get into better shape and so she and I have commited to doing the Couch to 5k program starting today. Monday, Wednesday and Friday will be our running days. We know it’s really going to suck at the start, but we’re determined to stick to it.

That’s one reason why I’m making this blog post, actually. This is going to be hard. Super hard. I would have a difficult enough time keeping myself motivated to do this. Now, not only am I going to have to push myself to do this, I’m also going to have to push Danica.

Did I mention that it’s going to be tough?

Yeah. So I’m hoping by sharing this it will not only provide a little accountability, it will also give me a whole bunch of people who will be able to remind me that I’m doing the right thing. The right thing for myself and for my daughter.

Yeah. I’m definitely going to need that.

*The kids at the track meet were just the proverbial final straw, not the sole motivation for this. It had been a long time in the making.

**As evidenced, I suppose, by the fact that when I originally wrote this post I referred to the children who mocked Danica as jerks. Not very kind there, Rhonda, not very kind at all.

***It could be that those kids are actually good people who are usually very nice. It could be that they didn’t know she could hear them. But what they said was mean, and she could hear them so whether they know it or not, they really hurt her feelings. I grant you that there is a huge difference between intentional and unintentional meanness, but when I’m in ‘protective mother’ mode I don’t clearly see subtleties like that.

Family

So, I’m cheating a little bit today, but only sorta. As you can see, I’m still writing part of this blog, so I am not actually counting this as a cheat, but, at the same time, the bulk of today’s content isn’t coming from me, it’s coming from my daughter, Danica.

F is for family, and my family are the biggest supporters of my writing. They put up with me living in my own head far too often, they don’t mind when I bounce ideas off them (and they don’t take offense when I shake my head and say ‘No, no, that will never work’). They contribute ideas to my fishbowl. They don’t complain that our house isn’t spotless, or that our income isn’t higher (as it would be if I had a paying job). They are always there for me and if it weren’t for them… well, let’s not go there.

I asked Danica if she’d like to write about what it’s like to have a writer for a mother for my blog. Her response? “You have a blog?”

LOL Okay, so they are super supportive, but that doesn’t mean they follow my blog :-p After I told her that yes, I did have a blog, she was happy to complain about me in public on it.

~*~


Hi, I’m Danica, Rhonda’s daughter. I really have no idea what to write about in this blog, so I guess I’ll talk about writing, and how living with a writer can sometimes suck.

My mom, as you can tell is a writer, and I’ve picked up a few things from her. For instance, if you have writers block, just write. What you write may sound stupid, but it usually helps to get rid of that pesky writers block.

One horrible thing about living with a writer is: If I say something  that is not grammatically correct, my mom corrects what I say. Or, if I’m just being silly she’ll correct what I say anyways. It can be pretty annoying, but you learn to live with it.

Here’s another thing: My mom said I have to write a conclusion for this, but I don’t want to. So here’s my ‘conclusion’. Don’t live with a writer unless you love them a lot, like how my dad and I love my mom.

~*~

Short and sweet, eh? This blog post is part of the Blogging from A to Z challenge over the month of April and was brought to you by the letter F. Please pop by tomorrow when I’ll be talking about… um… something… something Grrreat! My schedule says Goodreads, so maybe… 🙂

Just Keep Swimming… Just Keep Swimming…

Ever feel like Dory? I don’t usually post videos here but I’ve had Dory stuck in my brain an awful lot so far this month, so I thought I’d share the expirience.

I feel rather a lot more like I’m drowning than swimming these days.

I’ve fallen behind on my psych course and frankly, I don’t know what I was thinking taking it in the first place. It’s a history of psych course which requires more memorization without context than my brain is used to handling. I read things, I understand them, I move on, I forget them. It’s horrible. So it’s taking me far longer to wade through than it should, but I’m still trying.

It’s also NaNoWriMo month and I’m embroiled in that again. Here’s the thing. The past few years NaNoWriMo has been a cake walk for me. I type pretty fast and if I turn off my inner editor it’s ridiculously easy for me to pump out 50,000 words in 30 days. However, I’m at a stage in my writing where I’m not interested in writing crap. I also no longer type my first drafts. Since the last NaNo I’ve switched to writing my first drafts out long hand. (I think I blogged about this before, I’m not going to go into detail about it again today). While I may be able to type a few thousand words an hour I can’t say the same for my writing. I have horrible handwriting and if I want to make it legible enough to be able to read it later, that takes time (and it’s still horrible). The process is also slower for mental reasons as well as physical — I think about what I’m writing more longhand. That makes for less crap, but more time.

Time is not something I have a lot of right now.

Danica and I have fallen behind on our poetry prompts, and I’ve only done one zombie poem since the month began.

Right now things aren’t looking good LOL

Not for NaNo, not for many of my November goals. School, obviously, has to take priority over NaNoWriMo or zombie poems (and to some extent even over my project with Dani), so I’ve been giving it most of my attention. Trying to fit other things in in between. It’s been an adventure.

I considered switching back to typing for November, but decided I’d rather keep working slowly toward having a reasonable first draft of this novel eventually than writing 50,000 words in November just to keep up a record or win a .pdf certificate I’m unlikely to even print.

Wow, I sound cynical.

I’m not… at least not as much as that sounded. I’m still hoping to cross the finish line, I’m working to re-arrange things and find some more writing time and get through this coursework too. I haven’t given up yet, but I am feeling more than a little overwhelmed.

But, I’m still swimming.

How about you?

NaNoWriMo Goals

Dude, where’s October gone?

It’s NaNoWriMo eve, and while I can’t get super hyped or whatever about it anymore, I’m doing it again this year, and that means I needed to set some goals. One of the best ways I find to accomplish my goals is to share them with the world — then there’s some external pressure (whether it’s real or not doesn’t matter, I feel like it’s there) and that is very motivating. If you’re me.

November Writing Goals

  • At least 50,000 words toward a first draft of my novel ‘Richter’. (I’m calling it a paranormal mystery for lack of a better genre. At least until it’s been written :))
  • 30 poems, one a day, based on prompts from the November Poem-a-Day challenge. All with zombie themes in order to give me the last pieces I need to put together a zombie poetry chapbook
  • Work with Danica on a poetry project. I’m not putting a specific poem goal here because the challenge in this will be learning to work together and have fun with it, not on the finished project.

Let’s see how it goes, shall we? 🙂

As for the picture, I just thought it looked ‘autumn-y’. I took it for a collaborative project I was doing.

Happy Birthday! Now with cookies!

Today is Danica’s birthday.

It’s not just any birthday though, today my little girl turns thirteen. Thriteen. Wow. So now I’m officially the mother of a teenager. And not just any teenager, a freaking awesome one.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure to meet Dani, let me tell you a little bit about her. Danica is clever, funny and creative. She loves rice, ice cream and tofu and up until recently wouldn’t eat a green vegetable without a significant amount of coercion. She’s a huge fan of horror movies (her favourite movie when she was 3 was Interview With a Vampire), enjoys singing, drawing and hanging out with her family. The most remarkable thing about Danica, however, is the size of her heart.

Last year at the end of the year her teacher passed out personalised presents to all the kids in her class. On each of them she’d chosen one word she thought applied to that particular person. On Danica’s she’d written “Benevolent” and I think she hit the nail on the head. Danica has got the biggest, kindest heart of anyone I’ve ever met.

I love her to pieces and I’m so very proud to be her mother, and honored to have been able to watch and help guide her as she grew up to become the wonderful young lady she is today. The teenage years are challenging ones, there is no denying it, but they are also exciting and full of potential. I have no doubt Danica will navigate through them with style and grace and continue to make me more proud than I could ever express.

I love you Goober, happy birthday!

Ever since Dani was very, very small we’ve baked together. At first she was actually so little she couldn’t sit up in her highchair without help and I’d have to tuck towels in around her to keep her upright, so she was just sort of watching what was going on. Now, she is more often than not to be the one in charge of the baking with me acting as supervisor and sometime assistant. It’s a happy coincidence then that my friend Beth is asking her friends to share some of their favourite recipes over the next few days in order to celebrate the publication of  her baking-related story in the Mountain Magic anthology coming out on the 9th.

I’m going to share my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe. I know, that’s kinda mundane, everyone has a chocolate chip cookie recipe, but to be honest, whenever we make chocolate chip cookie dough around here odds are we’ll nom it before it ever gets baked. So what follows is a recipe I’ve found is fantastic in both the cookie and dough states. And Danica agrees. Enjoy 🙂

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 Cup butter (salted and softened)
1 Cup packed brown sugar
1/2 Cup white sugar
1 tsp of sale
2 tsp vanilla extract (real, not imitation. It matters, honest.)
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 Cups of flour
Chocolate chips
Skor bits (optional)

If you can do this in a mixer than you get bonus points. I sometimes start out with the hand mixer and then switch to a fork for lack of a funtastic uber mixing machine.

Cream the butter and sugars together, then add the salt and vanilla and mix it until its fluffy. Add the eggs and the baking soda and give it another mix, then start adding the flour. Finally add the chocolate chips and skor bits if you’ve got them. Drop by the spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet and back at 350 for about 11 minutes.

Nom nom nom!

Check out Beth’s recipe at her blog: Catch A Star As It Falls.

Accountability

An important part of writing is being alive, and one way to extend my life (and increase the quality of it) is regular exercise. I am not a sporty person, I don’t like taking walks for the sake of the walk, or well, most exercise-y things. Still, I know from past expirience that if I establish a routine that includes working out I will do it, even when I don’t feel like it, and eventually my body will come to crave the exercise. I still won’t like it, but it will feel good as well as bad, so I’ll do it.

That makes me sound a little crazy doesn’t it? It’s true, but more importantly it’s a long way to go to get here: I need an accountability partner to help me set that initial routine.

I had one a while back and things were going great. We’d check in with each other every day and complain about how much our workout hurt (in this case it was The 30-Day Shred) or celebrate that it was getting easier. It was very motivating to me and on several days when I normally would have not exercised (and justified it to myself somehow) I forced myself to suck it up and just do it, because I knew my partner would be working out even though she didn’t want to.

Sadly my partner had an (unrelated) accident and a couple new developments that meant she has to take some time off working out like we were. Without her there to help motivate me, my working out also collapsed.

Jo is going to be my new accountability partner, but I thought I’d also put this out to the universe in case anyone else is interested in getting in on the ‘action’ 🙂 I’ll be beginning to workout again on October 1st which gives you a little bit to talk yourself into doing this with me and dropping me a line (on either blog or email 🙂 ). The more the merrier!

Also, there are only two more days left to enter the Goodreads contest to win a copy of Shades of Green:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Shades of Green (Paperback) by Rhonda Parrish

Shades of Green

by Rhonda Parrish

Giveaway ends September 30, 2010.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Clicky, clicky. The more the merrier there too 🙂

Lastly, the image at the top is one I took of Danica the other day. I <3 the reflections in the bubble 🙂

School’s Out!

I’m supposed to write a blog today. It’s something I told myself I would do. I even, at one point, had a little list of possible topics. Unfortunately I’ve lost my list and my mind is totally drawing a blank. I’m going to blame it on the fact it’s the last day of school. Really. It’s fantastic for kids but it’s also an important day for we parent-types.

Today is my daughter’s last day in elementary school. Come September she will be in junior high.

Man, I remember being both excited and terrified to start junior high… it doesn’t actually feel like it was -that- long ago, but apparently it was long enough that now it’s my daughter’s turn.

Oh see? I just got a good blog idea, but one that deserves a post of it’s own so it will have to wait until Thursday… unless I take Thursday off (it’s a holiday in Canada).

I’ve noticed a large number of my LJ friends aren’t using LJ these days. I think it’s time I spread(ed?) my wings a little bit and made some new friends. What livejournal users do you follow you’d recommend I check out?

In writing-related news I’m slowly extricating myself from my self-doubt and other emotional baggage and will be putting pen to paper on this draft of Shadows again very soon. It’s about time, frankly.

/rambling

Early Newsletter?

I’m not going to have a long, interesting blog today because in preparation for my writing retreat next week I’m actually working on my newsletter today. Early. What’s up with that? LoL

As promised I will be revealing the news about one of my super sekkrit projekts in this one. If you don’t subscribe don’t worry, I’ll tell you too…you just need to wait a couple days LOL

Because I wanted to offer something other than ‘Shh I’m trying to think here’* I’ve included a picture from this weekend. Danica was dressed a -little- bit country with a plaid button-up shirt and a huge cowboy hat, so I filtered it in post to emphasize her freckles and really make her look country. 🙂

*If you caught the Jaina Proudmore reference you rock. Just sayin’.